If you’re caring for an older relative, you’re fully mindful of the range of feelings involved. On one hand, it is a huge honor and incredibly rewarding. Having said that, it is often challenging, draining, and stressful. Add to that the additional concerns regarding cognitive decline, and it is easy to see how family members taking care of seniors can rapidly become bogged down.
Cognitive performance can decrease gradually, or it could decline practically overnight, depending on the root cause (Alzheimer’s or any other kind of dementia, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson’s, just to name a few). No matter the cause of someone’s cognitive decline, there are actions loved ones can take to offer the best possible care.
- Take note of the person’s baseline behaviors and also the particular changes you are witnessing.
- Schedule a comprehensive examination with the primary care doctor for an exact diagnosis and to rule out other health issues.
- Ask the physician for educational resources on the diagnosis in order to be fully informed as to what to anticipate, and to share with other relatives.
- Assess the senior’s needs – both today and ongoing, as needs can be expected to evolve as time passes. Consider physical along with emotional concerns, such as their ability to:
- Take care of personal hygiene tasks
- Take care of housekeeping, meals, laundry, and other tasks around the house
- Maintain social ties and remain engaged in enjoyable activities
- Get to medical visits, take care of grocery shopping, and other needs outside the home
- Remain safe: from wandering, falls, medication mismanagement, and more
- Establish a plan to address any needs identified.
- Evaluate finances and legal records to make certain someone has been selected as power of attorney so the person’s wishes will be followed and decisions made on their behalf when required.
- Find support – through a web-based or in-person support group for family caregivers, and for the specific diagnosis if possible.
The crucial thing to remember is you’re not by yourself! Live Free Home Health Care’s caregivers in Concord, NH and the surrounding areas are always here to work together with you, creating opportunities for you to step away from your caregiving responsibilities for your own personal needs and interests. Taking good care of yourself is essential to having the ability to successfully look after someone else. Arrange ongoing, regular time away for self-care such as:
- Physical activity – at least 20 minutes of physical exercise 3 times per week, or per doctor’s instructions.
- Healthy eating – skip the drive-through and quick, sugary, or salty treats and opt for nutritious choices
- Sleep – something that is extremely challenging when taking care of a senior with cognitive decline, but extremely important
- Health and dental examinations – including taking care of your mental health to prevent caregiver burnout and depression
- Comforting, enjoyable activities – reading, a lunch date with a good friend, and whatever hobbies and interests brighten up your day
If you are taking care of seniors with cognitive decline, you don’t have to go it alone. Get in touch with Live Free Home Health Care at 603-217-0149 for additional details on our respite care services, supplied by fully trained and experienced senior care professionals. Request a complimentary consultation and let us help you ensure the most effective care for someone you love with cognitive decline – and, for yourself.